'White Lotus' Actress Accidentally Ordered A Racist Cake For Ned Schneebly
Giving your boss an unintentionally racist cake is the kind of gaff that usually only happens in shows like HBO’s The White Lotus, but, somehow, it actually happened to one of the show’s cast members.
Last Thursday, veteran Italian actress and White Lotus breakout star Sabrina Impacciatore appeared on Jimmy Kimmel Live! to talk about the show’s shocking Season 2 finale and to discuss the casual culture shock that a native Italian artist feels when they step onto an American set at a stunning Sicilian beachfront. Impacciatore spoke glowingly of her American coworkers, though she shared a strange pastry-themed story of a generous gesture getting lost in translation.
During her own birthday lunch, Impacciatore presented a cake to the show's creator and showrunner Mike White (also known as Ned Schneebly from School of Rock) that featured the unfortunate lettering of “White At Heart” next to the flags of America and Italy.
Impacciatore has drawn acclaim for her performance as Valentina, the sharp-tongued, no BS hotel manager whose sexual awakening was one of the most memorable storylines of White Lotus Season 2. During filming, Impacciatore and showrunner White discovered that they both shared a love for David Lynch’s 1990 black comedy romantic crime film Wild at Heart starring Nicholas Cage and Laura Dern.
During production, Impacciatore planned a lunch to celebrate her birthday to which she invited all of her American colleagues. As a nice gesture, Impacciatore planned to present a custom cake to her boss that celebrated him, the Lynch film they both loved, and the multicultural nature of the production – explained the actress, "I love this movie by David Lynch Wild at Heart and I wanted to do an homage to Mike White and then I put an American flag and an Italian flag on the cake."
When the dessert was revealed, however, the reaction was unexpectedly frigid as her American coworkers pondered the implications of a cake that seemed to be calling their country “White at Heart.” Impacciatore heartbreakingly tells the story of her failed photo op with the cake, saying, "I wanted to take a picture with us all together, I was so proud of this cake … I was so happy. I couldn't wait to show it to everybody."
The actress continued, "There was an ice moment, you know when everything freezes like everybody was frozen and I said, 'Hey guys let's have a picture all together.' And no one would get in the photo with this."
Frankly, as sad as it was for Impacciatore to have her cake flop on her own birthday, avoiding a photo op was a prudent move on the part of her co-stars – within the context of Impacciatore’s birthday lunch, the cake is completely innocent, but a picture of Aubrey Plaza smiling next to a pastry with words “White at Heart” on it would travel across Twitter and back before the full story could crack the trending topics.
Let's just be glad that Impacciatore and White never bonded over their love of the 2008 Swedish horror film Let the Right One In.